Fourth of July

Lesley and I enjoyed a great 4th of July yesterday. Our schedules rarely mesh these days — she works Monday through Friday and I’m on from Wednesday through Sunday — so it was a welcome treat to have a whole day together.

We started with a picnic at Irvine Regional Park. There were quite a few people around, but I wouldn’t say it was uncomfortably crowded. There were just enough folks around to make for some interesting people watching.

Speaking of which, we ended up being the only non-Hispanic picnickers in the park. I’m not sure why, but it might have something to do with the fact that Irvine Regional Park is not located in Irvine but rather sits in the hills between Tustin and Orange. Whatever the reason, it was odd being in such a homogenous group. I’m used to seeing a far wider racial mix than that.

It reminded me of a concert tour I did through the midwest in the early 90s. Exploring Indianapolis one afternoon, nearly everyone I encountered had blond hair and blue eyes. It was like the Germans had won the war or something. The Confederate war memorials scattered around the city center didn’t help.

Anyway, after lounging away a few hours under a big tree at the park, we did a bit of shopping at Petco and set up a small aquarium at Lesley’s place. We also scoped out barbecues at Home Depot, but couldn’t find anything that was reasonably sized. I’ve been wanting to get her one as a housewarming present but they’re all huge. Is it just me, or have the barbecues become larger and larger over the years? They all seem to have what can only be described as significant counter space on either side of the grill. You’d think they would at least make these parts foldable so that those who are tight on space could conserve room when the grill was not in use.

Lesley’s new place in Aliso Viejo is amazing. Not only does it have more square footage, an extra bedroom, extra bathrom, vaulted ceilings, better air conditioning, and a garage, but it also sits on top of the highest land in the area. So her patio has a view that stretches for miles. Accompanied by a gentle breeze, the patio faces east, so the sun is mellow in the afternoons.

We spent the twilight hours hanging out on the deck, snacking on grape leaves, cucumber salad, hummus, French bread and a very special Zivio dessert wine we picked up at the Milat Vinyard in Napa last year.

We hadn’t planned to watch any fireworks, but around 9 pm noticed that we could see a large display that had begun in Laguna Beach. Then a few minutes later one started up in Aliso Viejo. Then Mission Viejo. Then Laguna Hills. Within minutes we were literally enveloped in large-scale professional fireworks displays. It was outstanding! Even more so because not only was it an unexpected surprise, but we had amazing seats without having to fight any crowds.

All in all, it was one of the most enjoyable relaxing 4th of Julys in memory.

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